Paging Jim Carrey for Grammy Host | Oscar Movies Playing to Empty Theaters | Britney Spears Walks the Right Way

Paging Jim Carrey for Grammy Host

There's a bit of terror in GrammyLand. The CBS broadcast is less than a month away and there's still no host. 

Rosie O'Donnell, who hosted last year, was said to have miffed some members of the NARAS (National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences) board with her off-the-cuff remarks regarding Puff Daddy and Kevin Spacey. Too bad — I kind of like snarky Rosie over daytime Rosie. 

Anyhoo: Whoopi Goldberg was said to have signed on the dotted line, but then she had health trouble over the holidays and was told to cut down on her workload. Out she went. 

Now famed producer Pierre Cossette — who doesn't break a sweat over such small matters — is looking for a replacement. With the clock ticking, I asked him last night who he'd like to see at the podium. What about Jim Carrey

"He'd be great," Cossette said. "Anyone would want him. Do you have any connections to him?" 

In fact, I don't. But Carrey would be terrific — let's see if he responds to Pierre's Bat Signal. 

Meanwhile, Cossette and wife Mary threw their annual Super Bowl party Sunday night at Sardi's restaurant in New York's Times Square. This is one of the most looked-forward-to nights in New York — a small, fun group, warm feelings, big screen TVs and the best hot dogs, cheeseburgers and potato knishes you've ever had. 

Among the throng who watched the Ravens douse the Giants: Broadway star Michelle Lee and husband, television producer Fred Rappaport; Law and Order stars Jerry Orbach and Richard Belzer; great composer Adolph Green and his wife, the actress Phyllis Newman; MASH actress Sally Kellerman; former New York Mayor David Dinkins and former police/fire commish Howard Safir; record-business consultant guru Michael Klenfner and wife Carol, a PR exec; the music industry's top lawyer, Alan Grubman, with wife Deborah; local radio and TV personality Mark Simone; original HBO leader Michael Fuchs; Forbes magazine frontwoman Monie Begley and her attractive young daughter; Warner Music Group dynamo Linda Moran and husband Mike Moran, who was Elvis Presley's recording engineer ... and is only retiring on March 2 from RCA Records; Avenue magazine editor Jill Brooke, author of the hot new book Don't Let Death Ruin Your Life; local WPIX anchorman Jim Watkins; gossips Mitchell Fink and Neal Travis; art flack Liz Derringer; and the one and only Elaine Kaufman, who rarely comes downtown from her own boite, Elaine's. But she had to — most of Pierre and Mary's crowd was culled from Elaine's regulars. Anyway, it's always great to see Elaine off-duty. 

Pierre and Mary leave Monday for Los Angeles to start preparing their 31st annual Grammy telecast, set for Feb. 21. It almost doesn't matter who gets or gives a Grammy or who performs. The Cossettes have managed to make the show more and more memorable as the years go on. They are a gracious, remarkably poised, and much beloved couple, and their spirit shows in the fun at every single show. 

As for producing the show at L.A.'s Staples Center, Pierre is all for it, Mary says. But will the show ever come back to New York? Mum's the word, at least until Mayor Rudolph Giuliani is gone. His feud with NARAS president Michael Greene has never ended. 

Oscar Movies Playing to Empty Theaters 

It's sort of funny when you think about it. Or creepy. A darkened movie theater, the projector light flickering with dust. And just a handful of people in the theater. 

A porno show? A nursing home? 

Nope. It's the daily shows for Gladiator and Erin Brockovich, two movies out on video and DVD but also playing four or five shows a day to mostly empty houses in New York and Los Angeles. 

This weekend, Gladiator had shows at the Greenwich Village Quad, Times Square Virgin Store and the Fairfax Cinema on Beverly Blvd. in Hollywood. The total take for the weekend was probably less than $10,000. (At the Virgin box office they claimed to have done approximately $2,000 a day over the weekend.) 

Erin Brockovich played in New York only at the AMC near Port Authority and in L.A. at Mann's Westwood. In New York the manager said they had a couple of near capacity shows. In Westwood there are only two shows a day. Which I guess are for Academy voters ... 

And yet both movies have huge newspaper ads in both cities. The costs could be as much as $500,000. Last week Gladiator and Erin made so little money they didn't even register on the list of top 80 box office movies. 

So what's up? The only way to have newspaper ads that might help Oscar nominators decide in their favor is to have the movies in a theater, any theater, no matter what it costs. It's an expensive justification and shows how desperate the studios are to keep older movies' names in front of the public. 

For films released at Christmas time, like Cast Away, Chocolat, Traffic and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, their ads are pointing people to 1,000 or more theaters nationwide where those films are showing. But if a movie was released last spring and has ended its theatrical run — indeed, gone to cable and video — a renewed big screen effort is necessary for ads. You can't just have an ad that says, "This is movie is great and everyone loved it!" So you put it in a theater and accept the lost dough. 

I'm trying to imagine Gladiator at the Quad — the screen is as big as a bread box. The seats are very uncomfortable. You'd be better off seeing at home. 

Meanwhile, Almost Famous — one of my favorite films of the year — is playing at one theater, the Screening Room on Canal Street. Even though it has double-page ad spreads costing $120,000 or more a shot, the Screening Room screen is slightly smaller than a Philco TV and the sound is from inside a shoe box. Almost Famous is not out on DVD or video — and it won't be until the fall. So why doesn't DreamWorks just put it into some nice theaters and make some money? Just asking ... 

Britney Spears Walks the Right Way 

This column has bashed old Brit in the past, but she was pretty good last night, wasn't she? And what about Steven Tyler? No other rocker has had as many lives. He knows more about re-invention than Andy Warhol. Viva Aerosmith!